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Tentacle Sync tiny TCbox review


Jeremy Childers
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Hey Guys!

Just thought I'd write up my observations after a couple days of use of this small TC box.

I absolutely love this product! After seeing Vincent post here a couple weeks ago I set my mind to getting one. The guys over at Tentacle sync lent me 2.

When you first hold it, it feels almost like a toy. It is very light weight 27gm or 1 ounce. There are no screws or hardware on it. I was a bit nervous about this at first but after using it the last couple days I am convinced that they are sturdy enough for my purposes and the gigs I do.( mosty docu and corporate). The 3.5mm jack for in or output are not locking but are secure, I don't see how you would accidentally unplug them. It charges it's internal battery over a mini USB and battery is said to last 40hrs. c3b6561d27affd4070f01155ed6d1217.jpg81c4d2d4c7ba8bda75d3aabd581e6127.jpgb67b219ed92345a63d51fa1c58d2b4f1.jpg

I've been using them as slaves, jamming them from my 664 and then placing them on c300. One day a 5d was brought in as well so I put the tentacle on it. When you buy this box it comes with software to control settings and another program for syncing. The syncing program has a nice interface and worked well with the 5d footage.

It has been frame accurate up to 7hrs, I haven't tried more then that as I usually re-jam at meal. The camera guys absolutely love it. They can't even tell it's there really. Here are a couple pics and more to the review to follow after a few more days of use.8d17ff566d10513a2cc3082d832a25c4.jpghttp://tapatalk.im

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I assume they sacrificed AA battery for size. The battery lasts for 40 hours. Even if it loses half it's capacity, it'll still last for more than I need for one day. Especially if I have two. These are almost priced as expendables. Once they eventually fail, you buy a new one. That is, if it's not changeable.

If you check out the crowdfunding campaign you can buy a set of tentacles a lot cheaper than what it will be sold at eventually.

I would like to stress the sync software that comes with it, that is really the highlight of the system. With it you can sync your dailies within seconds, minutes at most. It takes native camera files and syncs with audio, creating a new file. So for the editor it's like working with camera audio.

It can sync with TC embedded in the file or TC recorded as audio. The latter takes a bit longer, of course. You can literally sync everything on the way back to the airport.

This system enables TC based workflow even when shooting with a 5D and a Zoom.

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https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/tentacle-sync-time-to-sync-different

"Hey cool, she's crying, Tentacle did the job"

What!? German humor?

Maybe a little help with non-sexist international marketing would be useful?

I don't think you watched the video from the beginning. The idea was that the actress is supposed to cry for the scene and is just getting ready to do so, when the guy interrupts the emotionality to clap the slate. Cue Tentacle. At the end of the video they can shoot this without the interruption of the slate, because of TC sync and thus she is able to cry for the scene. Naturally the director is happy about this.

This is neither sexist nor German humour.

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I don't think you watched the video from the beginning. The idea was that the actress is supposed to cry for the scene and is just getting ready to do so, when the guy interrupts the emotionality to clap the slate. Cue Tentacle. At the end of the video they can shoot this without the interruption of the slate, because of TC sync and thus she is able to cry for the scene. Naturally the director is happy about this.

This is neither sexist nor German humour.

OK thanks, post deleted, I mistakenly thought it was a documentary which does change things somewhat .... :)

But it's a promotion film staging a drama which itself stages a documentary interview? The plot thickens....

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Regarding the ref sound: I wonder how they do that. On the test devices I had it only had one output. So mini jack out to a mic input of a 5D for example. As far as I know you can select in camera OR external audio OR internal mic. Not both.

Brickbeard said it: the Tentacle has a built in microphone. Supposedly the is on par with the built in mic. So on the cam you'll get one channel of audio and one of tc. The mic works with plug-in power from the camera, so it'll work even if the Tentacle is off. Otherwise you can use a y-cable if you have an external mic on the camera.
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Is the mic/line switch in the setup software or somewhere on the box I'm not seeing?

Can I chose in the software which pin of the 3.5mm delivers TC and which delivers audio?

Would love to see screenshots of the setup software (not the sync software).

0ab37f8e07df924513b1e7fca5a8bdc2.jpg

There is also an advanced menu but they asked me not to post pictures of it yet since it is not final.

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9000 euros in half a day. Not bad. I just talked with Uli, the engineer and I stand corrected about the mic:

"Hi Vincent, this microphone was already in the device you used. It is right behind the USB Connector. If you would have used the minijack cable together with a DSLR Camera, left channel of the recording would be timecode and right channel the build in mic. The mic is powered by the plugin-power of the camera, so if you forgot to switch tentacle on or it powered off due to an empty battery, you are still recording audio of the build in mic..."

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well, the campaign lists 210EUR for a single unit, 380 for two and 1650 for ten units....

i've never been involved with a kickstarted thing, so i'd be interested if i's common to lower the price eventually once the thing is in full production or if that might annoy the early backers.

 

anyway, lovely product it seems to me - might buy one eventually.

 

chris

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No, it's the other way round - usually the price is an incentive to join the fund. Once the target is reached, the units go into production - the price will then be more than the investors paid, a commercial rate, so that the investors are rewarded for their investment by getting the product at a low price. So in this example, a unit plus the necessary software looks like it will cost about 270 euros next February, whereas you can get two for 340 by investing now. You get a discount by putting the money up front and showing faith in them, which seems fair.  If they don't make the target, you get your money back, so nothing lost.

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Really, build in mic on the tentacle huh? Didn't had that one on our prototype. Interesting and curious how useful that will be. You got this info from Max or Uli?

 

No i just read the specs on their fundraising campaign page

Only downside to me seems a lack of locking connector, but what the heck sure is a neat little product!

Here is a copy/paste for reference

 

Tentacle Sync Hardware:

  • Super Simple Usage: DIP-Switchless operation, no screwdriver needed! Just one button and LED. Setup of Framerate, TC Output-Level over USB via software possible (OSX & Windows).

  • Integrated hook surface on back for easy mounting

  • Super Small (34x50x16mm) and Lightweight (30g)

  • Generates all SMPTE timecode-rates: 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 29.97DF and 30 FPS with an inaccuracy of less than 1 frame in 24hrs. 

  • Can act as a Master-Clock (Green Mode) or Jam-Sync to any external timecode source (Red Mode).

  • DSLR-Ready: Switchable mic/line output + build-in microphone for reference sound

  • High quality built-in rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery with running times of up to 40hrs. Charging over USB takes only 1.5hrs. Battery life will be more than 3 years (depends on usage) and there will be an option to replace the battery.

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